Tuesday, 26 July 2016

SWCP - Torquay to Exmouth

Tuesday 26th July (sadly my younger brother's birthday, now in a home with dementia)

My hotel did not do breakfast so at least I could have an early start. I have carried a plastic box from home containing Tuc cheese biscuits and so often had thought of ditching them to save weight but after three weeks of being toted round the south coast they came into their own. That was also a Baby Bell cheese remaining from a gifted packed lunch from one of my B and B hosts. Fortunately there was a good supply of tea bags and those horrid little milk cartons in the room so at least I had something to start on.

So I was off by 6.50 (am!).

From there the path to Teignmouth was as tough as anything I have ever walked. That may be incorrect, but memories dim about certain sections of the GR10. Every time I slogged up a very steep, rough path there's was no relief, just over the top and back down again (I don't know how many times). I was able to assimilate the topography, and so often it seemed the path could have been run round the rim of the intrusive cliff instead of plunging down, and climbing up its sides. The general effect of all this, apart from huge physical exertion is demoralisation. I suppose the problem is in obtaining permissive paths across private land?

From there onwards there were a few other onerous flights of un-ergonomic steps to get me to Chaldon and the ferry crossing to Teignmouth. The boat was just leaving and they stopped and re-extended the gangplank and across I went. The Blue Café, a little wooden hut on the harbour wall, had a jokey proprietor referring to my walking poles, " have you been skiing then?" I told him what I had been doing, (and some), and his attitude changed saying that he would like to do the SWCP himself, hmm!

From Teignmouth there was a road diversion not signed then more switchback stuff on overgrown and uneven paths whose description was the same as the aforementioned to arrive at. Dawlish. Both those sections gave little in the way of views, mainly passing through woodland.

From Dawlish there was a long seafront concrete walkway bonus to Dawlish Warrens and the turn north for mainly uninspiring road/cycle track walking to Stracross and the ferry to Exmouth.

All In all a disappointing finish to a splendid, challenging walk with scenery to rival any other south of the Scottish border.

I have e just finished eating in the Manor Hotel. There was a coach party in and the four corse dinner menu fixed at £15.95 was rattled through by a bevy of staff so the coachers could enjoy the forthcoming "entertainment" in the bar as announced during the course of the meal - it was going to be some guy telling "clean" jokes. I retired to my room to finish this.

Much has been said about my appreciation or otherwise of this trip, and I would say that it has been more of a challenge than a holiday. This morning I was in much pain with my ankle/foot and as far as I can remember this has been one of the toughest walks I have done which at my age may be said to have been a bad idea. Anybody who walks the whole 650 miles of this path in one none-stop trip has my profoundness admiration, and I mean that more sincerely than anything else I remember saying recently.




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3 comments:

John J said...

I've only walked the route in sections, four days at a time. It's certainly the toughest UK walk I've ever done.
Keep up the good work, I'm enjoying reading about your adventures immensely.

coastalwalker said...

I remember being surprised by how tough that section north of Torquay was. Nothing on the map prepared me for it! And I had the same feeling exactly about the path - which seemed to skip up and down and in and out for no purpose whatsoever apart from turning a tiring walk into an exhausting one. Ha!
Interesting to hear you carry Tuc biscuits with you Conrad. I've developed a liking for them too while out on walking trips - maybe it's the salt. I prefer the ones which come sandwiched together with a cream cheese filling. Rather good.
I'm not surprised you're feeling tired. The longest trip of continuous walking I've ever done is 10 days. Needed at least a week to recover when I got home :D

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - I'm glad someone of your experience agrees.

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Coastalwalker - Hi Ruth. Yes, it is not easy to translate the route on the map against the contours into a mental picture, especially with the 1:50 OS, and anyway, perhaps I tended to be in denial about what was to come if I had done.

As a scratch lunch thing I also have Tuc cheesy filling. At home the ordinary ones are quite good for cheese and biscuits (with a drop of red).